Dean Franck is a first year student in the Master's of Divinity Program at Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. He is also a participant of our Digital Disciples Program.
OCN would like to express gratitude to the young men and women who serve our country and would like to recognize the efforts of dedicated chaplains throughout the world.
There are many good Orthodox Christians in the Marines and throughout our country’s armed forces. With Veteran’s Day drawing near we can reflect upon the service of these young patriots. In the day to day lives of the faithful who serve our country, it is often difficult to find communal worship and receive the sacraments. In a reflection on the Orthodox Church in America website, Archpriest Jerome Cwilklinski, a retired military chaplain who continues to minister to US military personnel shared how, “Marine Corps Recruit Depot [MCRD], close to the heart of San Diego, is within five miles of parishes of almost every jurisdiction. This is where half of all Marines go through basic training. Because recruits are never permitted to leave the base, those parishes might as well be on the moon!”
“And,” continued Father Jerome, “Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center [MCAGCC] Twenty-nine Palms, in the Mojave Desert, IS the moon as far as many are concerned.
“It’s two hours from the nearest Orthodox parish, and its service school students are forbidden to own or operate motor vehicles,” he adds.
In the wake of the nerve-wracking drills and strenuous mental and physical training it seems almost essential for an Orthodox military person to partake in the sacraments and communal worship on a regular basis. The lives of Orthodox officers who have maintained consistent Church lives, through dedicated Chaplains like Father Jerome, have been able not only to succeed in their careers, but they exhibit growth as leaders in the Orthodox Community as well.
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